Freshman Hunter Lewendowski found lifting in the weight room after school (Jaden Miller)
Freshman Hunter Lewendowski found lifting in the weight room after school

Jaden Miller

The grind don’t stop

Life in the weight room

January 4, 2022

The familiar sounds of the weight room fill the hallways in New Ulm High School on the daily. The loud music, the clang of the barbell, and students working hard to achieve their goals. From classes to lifting for sports, there are opportunities for every student.

Prior to fall 2019, the weightlifting scene at New Ulm High School was non-existent. With the help of strength coach, Derek Lieser, and many ambitious students, it has gained popularity. “The biggest thing is building relationships with kids… [and] letting [them] know we care about them and want them to be successful,” Lieser said. He also encourages coaches to see the value and benefit of weightlifting. Through an Instagram account dedicated to the weight room, nu_eagles_strength, Lieser has shown various students and teams working to achieve their goals and to acknowledge their hard work.

Junior Ella Freiderich utilizing the after school weightlifting program (Jaden Miller)

Along with turning around the weightlifting scene at the high school, Lieser has improved the weight room by bringing in new equipment. “It helps [to have] a supportive booster,” Lieser said. Since Leiser arrived at New Ulm High School, the weight room has undergone a complete transformation. “The equipment is very nice compared to other gyms,” junior student-athlete Ella Freiderich said. Recently, with money from the New Ulm Eagles Unified Booster Club, Lieser bought a vertical tester and laser timing system.

Working with students and athletes in the weight room has been a highlight of Lieser’s career at NUHS. “Working with kids and seeing them accomplish their goals… [and] the excitement on kids’ faces when they reach their goal is one of my favorite parts,” Lieser said. He describes his position as being the one person in the school who gets to coach everybody. His passion is reciprocated through his students as many enjoy and utilize the workouts that he provides.

Although there are many students who utilize and are comfortable in the weight room, many others are timid to begin their weightlifting journey. “It is important to know it’s never too late to start,” Lieser said. He encourages any and all students to get in the weight room, whether they are an athlete or not. “Just because you’re not an athlete doesn’t mean you don’t belong here,” Lieser said. Lastly, he encourages students to focus on using the right form from the beginning. “Don’t look for quick results and be able to embrace the process and the little things,” Lieser said.

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